(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford told the woman with whom he was having an affair they were “in a hopelessly impossible situation of love” last year during the time he was thought to be under consideration for the Republican vice presidential nomination, according to e-mails obtained by The State newspaper.
The paper, which acquired the emails in December, told CNN that the governor’s office had confirmed their authenticity on Wednesday. When contacted by CNN, a spokesman for the governor would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the emails.
The e-mails between the GOP governor and a Buenos Aires resident named “Maria,” were exchanged in July of last year, according to the newspaper.
In one message, Sanford told the woman about his plans to take a family vacation and meet with then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain “which has kicked up the whole VP talk all over again in the press back home ...” before he veered into more emotional territory.
(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's wife Jenny released a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Statement from First Lady Jenny Sanford
I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.
I personally believe that the greatest legacy I will leave behind in this world is not the job I held on Wall Street, or the campaigns I managed for Mark, or the work I have done as First Lady or even the philanthropic activities in which I have been routinely engaged. Instead, the greatest legacy I will leave in this world is the character of the children I, or we, leave behind. It is for that reason that I deeply regret the recent actions of my husband Mark, and their potential damage to our children.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.sanford1.gi.jpg caption="Sanford traveled to Brazil and Argentina last June."]COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Mark Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a taxpayer-funded South Carolina Department of Commerce trade mission, according to a copy of the trip itinerary obtained by CNN.
Sanford revealed Wednesday that he began an affair with "a dear, dear friend" from Argentina last year.
It's unknown if Sanford spent time with the woman the during the trade mission, but the governor explained Wednesday that his relationship with her "sparked into something more" than just a friendship "about a year ago." He said he has known the woman for about eight years.
Sanford's office said the trip, like other trade missions, was organized by the Department of Commerce, not by the governor.
The South American swing took Sanford and several commerce officials to Brazil and Argentina for one week in June 2008, beginning on June 21.
After spending three days in Brazil, the delegation arrived in Cordoba, Argentina on June 24 - one year ago to the day Sanford emotionally admitted his extramarital affair at the state house in Columbia.
The following day, the group traveled to Buenos Aires - the city Sanford went back to last week, during his mysterious absence - for the final two nights of the trip. Members of the delegation were scheduled to stay at the Hilton Buenos Aires, located in the city's Puerto Madero district.
While the delegation spent much of their time meeting with diplomats and business leaders, several hours each day were allotted for "personal time." The group returned to Columbia on the morning of June 28 after taking an overnight flight.
According to state expenditure reports, Sanford's out-state travel expenses with the Department of Commerce totaled $21, 487 for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2008. Governors commonly travel out-of-state or abroad to stir up investment in their home states.
"All of the economic development trips taken by the governor are organized and run by the Department of Commerce," Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told CNN.
Sanford said in a press conference Wednesday that he footed the bill for his most recent trip to Buenos Aires. The governor said earlier in the day he had traveled to Argentina several times before.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration has decided to rescind invitations to Iranian diplomats for July Fourth celebrations overseas due to violent crackdowns against protesters in Iran, the White House said Wednesday.
"July Fourth allows us to celebrate the freedom and the liberty we enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble peacefully, freedom of the press," White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. "Given the events of the past many days, those invitations will no longer be extended."
The administration had decided to invite Iranians to the celebrations at overseas posts as part of the president's policy of engaging the Iranian regime.
Late last month the State Department sent a cable to its embassies and consulates worldwide telling them they could invite Iranian representative to their July Fourth celebrations.
But in a fresh cable sent to all embassies and consulates Wednesday evening, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered posts "to rescind all invitations that have been extended to Iranian diplomats for July 4 events.
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caption="House Democrats are lobbying their counterparts to support a landmark energy bill."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Democratic leaders are furiously lobbying their members and moderate Republicans to support a landmark energy bill in the face of resistance from some conservative members of their own party, and staunch opposition from the GOP - roadblocks that are making it difficult to find the 218 votes necessary to pass the measure, according to Democratic leadership aides.
A vote on the Clean Energy and Security Act, which would restrict emissions of green house gases and require use of alternative energy in an effort to slow the effects of global warming, is scheduled for Friday.
The legislation's lead sponsors held a pep rally outside the Capitol on Wednesday to whip up support for the legislation's passage.
"We are going to pass the most important energy and environment bill in history," declared Rep Ed Markey, D-Masachusetts, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "We are going to reduce the carbon we send up into the atmosphere but at the same time we are going to begin to back out the oil that we import from countries that we should not be importing it from."
The legislation would require a 17 percent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2020, mandate electric utilities to meet 20% of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources by 2020, provide $90 billion for new investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, along with $60 billion for carbon capture and sequestration. Another key provision, termed "cap-and-trade," would require industries and manufacturers to cut carbon emissions by setting up a system where they could buy and sell pollution credits.
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caption="A group of Republican senators questioned whether she believes the Bill of Rights applies to all Americans."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican senators on Wednesday made public their strategy for combating the Supreme Court nomination of appellate Judge Sonia Sotomayor, questioning whether she believes the Bill of Rights applies to all Americans.
In particular, a quartet of Republican senators told a news conference that Sotomayor has challenged whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right, which they said contrasts with what the Supreme Court ruled a year ago.
"Judge Sotomayor earlier this year rendered an opinion that held that the Second Amendment was not a fundamental right," noted Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
To Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Sotomayor's opinion amounts to a challenge of whether the Constitution still applies in the United States.
"It's a very important question that goes much beyond the question of bearing arms, but whether or not we still are a constitutional republic," he said.
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caption="Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, left, welcomes U.S. envoy George Mitchell in Damascus on June 13."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama has decided to send a U.S. ambassador back to Syria, a dramatic sign of reconciliation between the two countries, the State Department announced Wednesday.
State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters the Syrian government was notified of the decision Tuesday evening.
"We're prepared to move forward with Syria to advance our interests through direct and continuing dialogue, " Kelly said. "We continue to have concerns about Syria's role in this region, and we think one way to address those concerns is to have an ambassador in Damascus."
Kelly said the decision "reflects the administration's recognition of the important role Syria plays in the region."
"We hope that they will continue to play such a constructive role to promote peace and stability in the region," Kelly said.
Publicly officials say the decision, which was reported by CNN Tuesday, was not in any way related to the election crisis in Iran, although the Obama administration has maintained engaging the Syrian regime could weaken Syria's strategic alliance with Iran.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A controversial new tax on employer-provided medical benefits is gaining traction among Senate health care negotiators as a way to help pay for a $1 trillion reform package moving through Congress, two key senators said Wednesday.
Bipartisan Senate negotiators are "starting to coalesce" around the idea, according to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana.
Any tax is controversial - but this proposal is especially politically charged, since President Barack Obama opposed the idea when he ran for president. White House officials from the president on down have sent mixed messages in public in recent weeks about whether he'd accept such a tax.
Baucus says the president has told him he is "flexible" on the proposal.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/24/art.palin1.gi.jpg caption="Palin (here visiting son Track’s Army brigade) plans to visit members of the Alaska National Guard."](CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will head overseas to visit troops serving in the National Guard, her office said Wednesday.
On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the Alaska governor tweeted that she had received permission to see the troops. "Travel now to bring appreciation from their Alaska family & Natl Guard leadership to heroes in US European Command's area of responsibility," she wrote Wednesday in shorthand that is often used on the social networking Web site Twitter.
The governor's office said the Defense Department had asked that further details of her trip not be released yet, for security reasons.
Two years ago, Palin visited Alaska National Guard troops in Kuwait and wounded soldiers on a U.S. base in Germany, as well as a border crossing on the Kuwait-Iraq border.
Palin's son Track, who serves in the Army, deployed to Iraq last year.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.barbour.gi.jpg caption="Barbour will head the RGA."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has assumed the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association, CNN has learned.
Barbour immediately takes over as head of the national Republican campaign organization following South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s announcement he was leaving the post. Sanford acknowledged Wednesday that he had an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina.
“The news revealed today hurts all of us who have gotten to know Governor Sanford over the years and so it is with regret that the RGA accepted Governor Sanford’s resignation as chairman,” Barbour said in a statement obtained by CNN that will be distributed Wednesday afternoon. “While this news is deeply disappointing, I also know it’s important to remain focused on the future and Governor Sanford’s resignation allows him and us to do just that.
Barbour added: “The RGA has an important task over the next two years. I am committed to seeing it through and confident we will succeed.”
Nick Ayers, the RGA’s executive director, expressed disappointment about Sanford’s revelation.
“While I am personally disappointed in today’s revelation, I also know that it’s important for both Governor Sanford and the RGA to move forward as quickly as possible,” Ayers said in the forthcoming statement. “Therefore we accepted his resignation this afternoon.
“However, the RGA is fortunate that Governor Haley Barbour was in line to become RGA Chairman, a position he assumed today. As a former RNC chairman and one of the best governors in the country, no one is better positioned to takeover as RGA chairman than Governor Barbour.”